YuTing Chiu on cultural sound differences, building instruments & creative expression

YuTing Chiu is a sound designer and multimedia artist based in Taipei and is someone filled with creative energy.

When we first met for coffee, she said to me, “do you want to see the instrument I created?”  I’ve never had someone ask this question before and plus, who says no to that question?  What she pulled out was an incredible handmade triangle instrument that was her re-invention of an African rainstick, except here was the “infinite” version.  She wanted to improve on having to flip over a rainstick every time it stopped making a sound.

Her instrument-making curiosity started when for a project for art school in Chicago, she decided to build a Bacon-themed instrument.  We talk about how that got started and how it led to other creative projects such as her Cultural Sound project, where she is trying to map people’s sounds or reactions they used to common occurrences in life.  For example, when people see a cute puppy they say “awww” in America, but “ahhhhh” in Taiwan.

Getting grossed out:

In the US, you might say “eww” when you see something gross, but in Taiwan, you’d say:

In addition to her sound projects, we talk a bit about how she expresses her creativity in other ways, through fun and perhaps projects that just don’t make sense.  For someone like YuTing, it is hard to imagine her ever using the word “bored.”

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